Jun 14, 2017
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Ivanka Trump ends talks with Japanese company found to have government ties

Jun 14, 2017

A conflict of interest has caused the Ivanka Trump brand to back out of an agreement with Sanei International, an apparel manufacturer whose parent company has ties to the Japanese government.

Ivanka Trump

A series of letters between Ivanka Trump's organization and the House Judiciary Committee was released publicly on Monday. The letters discussed the Democrat led House Judiciary Committee's investigation into whether Ivanka Trump's brand is conducting questionable business in light of the first daughter being employed as a White House advisor.

There have been ongoing questions about whether Ivanka Trump's role in US Government's foreign relations could have also benefited  her company. Ivanka created a stir when she sat in on meetings with Japan's prime minister in December. She was not appointed to an official role with the White House until March.

According to her company's president, Abigail Klem, Ivanka stepped down from her roles leading her brand's business in January 2017. At the time she had the Japan meeting, she was still working in an official capacity with her brand.

The House Judiciary Committee's investigation is to find out whether there is a conflict of interest. No federal employee can act in their official capacity as an employee of the US Government when their decisions could result in personal gain.

According to the letters, Ivanka resigned from "her positions in [the Ivanka Trump brand] business" in January 2017. On March 28, her brand filed 14 trademark applications in China that were approved. On March 29, Ivanka Trump was appointed to her new role as a federal employee, serving as a White House advisor.

In a letter of inquiry made public on Monday, the House Judiciary Committee wrote, "We remain concerned that Ivanka Trump may have used and may continue to use her official position within the White House to benefit her private interests."

The House Judiciary Committee is also investigating 200 pending trademark applications in China and emerging markets. The Committee's inquiry is based on whether Ivanka was meeting with leaders of foreign countries in her White House role to further the Ivanka Trump brand business abroad.

Since becoming a federal employee, she has met with leaders of Germany, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Italy. On April 6, China's President Xi Jinping dined with Ivanka at Mar-a-Lago during an official state visit.

In addition to the 14 trademark applications that were approved the day before she was appointed to the White House, the Ivanka Trump brand still has 30 pending trademark applications in China.

Klem remains adamant that there is no conflict of interest. She wrote in a reply letter to the House Judiciary Committee “according to four independent, China-based trademark experts, the approvals were standard.”

She also reiterated that Ivanka stepped down from her role with the company in January, and that she is not required to sell her interest in her company.


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